2012 Laureates Honored at Washington Business Hall of Fame Dinner

December 14, 2012

Last Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Washington Business Hall of Fame honored its five 2012 Laureates at a dinner at the Washington Hilton Ballroom. The 25th annual event was co-presented by the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Junior Achievement and Washingtonian Magazine and chaired by Robert P. Pincus, vice chairman of EagleBank. Fox News’s Bret Baier emceed the event.

The event had a record attendance of approximately 1,400 people and raised more than $1.3 million for Junior Achievement of Greater Washington. Proceeds will go towards financial literacy programs for area youth. Junior Achievement serves 52,000 youths during the academic year through 525,000 hours academic programs.

The 2012 Laureates are Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr., chairman, Patton Boggs LLP; Giuseppe Cecchi, president, the IDI Group Companies; John R. Darvish, founder and president, Darcars; M. Charito Kruvant, president and CEO, Creative Associates International, Inc.; and Ronald D. Paul, chairman and CEO of EagleBank. The Washington Business Hall of Fame recognizes business leaders for their lifetime achievements through the private sector economy in Greater Washington. Laureates must demonstrate and had outstanding business accomplishments, visionary leadership, integrity and strong core values and passionate community engagement. Past laureates include Ted Leonsis, Ted Lerner and Katharine Graham.

Recently, 2012 laureate Ron Paul visited Junior Achievement’s Finance Park. “Walking off Finance Park gave me the hope that our children will have a better feel for the responsibilities they’ll have in volatile, difficult times.” Paul was pleased that the park teaches “real life experience, not theoretical.” [gallery ids="101103,138222,138216,138180,138211,138187,138207,138194,138201" nav="thumbs"]

Beijing, Shanghai in 7 Days

December 12, 2012

“Want to go to China?” asked a media colleague. On his airline points, no less, so that he would rack up miles for premier status. Barely able to say, “Ni Hao,” with passport in hand, I applied for a visa on the Chinese Visa Office on Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park.

Regarding my business buddy — whom I’ve known since our days at Georgetown University and worked with at conventions — I foresaw not only a dizzying week of movement and sightseeing, but a busman’s holiday. “We’re going to the warehouse,” he quipped.

Aloft from Dulles Airport, the pilot informed us that the 14-hour, non-stop flight, fewer than 7,000 miles, would take us over Greenland, the Arctic Ocean and Russia to Beijing. Snow-capped mountains north of the capital, as the plane flew south from Siberia, was the first glimpse of China. “On your left, you may see parts of the Great Wall,” the pilot said in her wake-call.
After customs check-in, officers simply waved us past luggage detectors. Amid info boards and ads, we noticed a display of items, such as weapons and drugs, not permitted to bring into the country that included a can of Spam.

“Welcome to Beijing,” said the friendly couple, walking near the City Wall Marriott. The street was filled with food stores, some slightly familiar, others quite local. First dinner in Beijing? Why, Peking Duck, of course. It was curious that there are no fourth or 13th floors at this Marriott but smoking allowed in some rooms. Bells at the old city wall were heard at certain hourly intervals.
A first day in China demanded a walk through Tiananmen Square. During the off-season, we seemed a bit out-of-place: two big, white guys from the West. A few persons took photos with us. Another at the hotel asked if we were in town for the Communist Party Congress. Not so, but my fellow traveler recalled his visit to Beijing 30 years ago as full of bicycles not cars, and much more haze.

At the square is Mao Zedong’s tomb, the People’s Palace and the National Museum. After the obligatory photo in front of the Tiananmen Gate with Mao’s large picture was a foray into the Forbidden City, a stunning micro-cosmos of beauty in the center of Beijing. This you can barely absorb in one day but surely see the Hall of Supreme Harmony, its biggest structure, and the Palace of Heavenly Peace. Yes, there is a moat.

The biggest must-see is the Great Wall of China, a day trip, with sections of the wall just 40 miles north of Beijing. We bypassed the touristy wall at Badaling with its Starbucks and ascended to the Mutianyu section, riding in a cable car; Bill Clinton used number 26, a sign assured. The views and epiphany-of-place reward the trek, if you can get past the souvenir hawkers. Standing atop the wall is one huge check on anyone’s bucket list. Here is one of those worldly sites where the reality exceeds the dream.
After the jade and enamelware (cloisonne) outlets, we stopped at the Olympic Park for the 2008 games and finished the day at Dr. Tea, sampling and buying a bit of all the tea in China. Vladimir Putin took some tea here. Before meeting our train at the new Beijing South Station the next morning, we shopped on a wholesale street few visitors frequent.

The train ride from Beijing to Shanghai — about 820 miles in five hours — was a real eye-opener, revealing a huge amount of cranes erected in the cities en route. This nation of contrasts is in a rush to maintain its economic growth.

Coming into Shanghai, we felt a little lost at the station before catching a cab to the Hyatt on the Bund. Nearing the Embankment, we stared at the buildings and then skyscrapers of Pudong across the Huangpu River. The colors and brilliance were potently, artfully electric and excited the mind’s eye.

The view from my 27th floor hotel room offered the iconic Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower and cityscape, and the Vue bar and restaurant atop the Hyatt is a perch not to be missed with its hot tubs — and all of Shanghai before you.

A place in motion, Shanghai is truly a city of the world and the future. At the Shanghai Circus, with its acrobatic acts, the ringmaster spun a porcelain vase on his head. I was eager to walk along the Bund and see the Customs House and old Signal Tower, as seen on “The Amazing Race.”

Next to modern facades are shops and eateries for city folk along with major Art Deco architecture from the 1930s; lunch at the Hotel Metropol. Nanjing Road stores are also lighted at night and have all that is offered on Fifth Avenue or Rodeo Drive as much as Xin Tian Di looked like it could be in Scottsdale or Santa Monica. Near the Sightseeing Pedestrian Tunnel, the Super Brand Mall looked like home with its “Merry Christmas” signs.

“Buy, buy, Shanghai,” they say. This city is a shopper’s paradise. A fine scarf, perfect necklace or leatherware — perhaps a Hello Kitty pencil case or an Angry Birds slingshot — at No. 1 Department Store? “What are you looking for?” said an unwanted street shopping guide. “I can find it for you.” How about a Mao ashtray or watch at the Dongtai Road antique market? Ready to take another taxi?

There is so much to this cool, cosmopolitan city of 23 million: from the past, the French Concession, Jade Buddha Temple, Jesuit Village or more. In the future-is-now category, the MagLev (magnetic levitation) train zips 19 miles to the airport at a maximum of 431 kilometers per hour (268 mph) at just over seven minutes. Had to try that.

Saying bye-bye to China, we flew to Los Angeles — 6,500 miles in less than 13 hours. After those shiny, big stations and airports, LAX seemed a little tired. “It’s not the MagLev,” intoned my fellow globetrotter. To combat jet lag, we spent a day in Los Angeles. Back in Washington, it had been a complete circumnavigation of the earth in one trip.

See more photos from Robert Devaney’s trip to China at www.Georgetowner.com. [gallery ids="101100,138038,138044,138050,138057,138063,138070,138076,138083,138031,138025,138019,138111,138105,137994,138100,138096,138000,138006,138013,138090" nav="thumbs"]

Up & Coming

December 6, 2012

Sea of Hope Concert
June 4

The Epiphany Choir and Youth Orchestra under the direction of choir director, Sang Wook Ko, will present their second annual “Seeds of Hope” Concert at Epiphany Catholic Church on June 4 at 7:30 p.m. One of the featured works will be Mozart’s Mass KV 220 well as other magnificent offerings. Donations will be accepted for the Seeds of Hope Foundation working to give seeds and technical advice to those who badly need food. (2712 Dumbarton Street NW, Washington DC, 20007).

Georgetown University Children’s Medical Center Diabetes Gala
June 4

In an effort to raise awareness for diabetes, Georgetown University Children’s Medical Center is hosting a Gala with dinner, music, dancing, and auctions featuring vacations, sports memorabilia and restaurants. The event will be held at Georgetown University Conference Center, 3800 Reservoir Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 on June 4 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $15-$40. Contact Tk275@georgetown.edu or call 202.342.2400.

KateNation Kickoff
June 7

You can help! KateNation, a nonprofit connecting people with disaster relief, is inviting prospective volunteers to Paolo’s Ristorante on June 7 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Enjoy Paolo’s delicious cuisine while participating in a raffle on a few disaster preparedness items and disaster supply kits. Entry is $25 a person. Additional donations accepted at the door or online at KateNation.org. Telephone: 703.309.5337


OUT — The Magic Wardrobe, a children’s clothing store at 1661 Wisconsin Ave., NW, was closed July 19 by the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue because of unpaid taxes.

IN — Mego Inc. has opened at 1419 Wisconsin Ave., NW, in the space formerly occupied by Jan’s, according to the D.C. Mud blog. The upscale retailer sells upscale clothing predominantly made of cashmere. ?

In & OutDecember 6, 2012


Bonobos Guideshop, a menswear business which originally started online, is coming to Cadys Alley. Customers can stop by and check out the shop, then order online to get the clothes in a few days. It is another example of cyberbusinesses — like Tuckernuck clothing — setting up a brick-and-mortar presence, to increase their consumer base. It already has other shops in Bethesda and New York.

Alex and Ani, a small jewelry shop at 3070 M St, is ready to open for holiday shoppers. Founded by Carolyn Rafaelian in 2004, the business is named for her two children. Offering necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings, the business is also distributes licensed products, such as those for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps and Major League Baseball.

Amazon Andes, a shop at 1419 Wisconsin Ave., NW, is selling cashmere products from South America, we are told.


Streets of Georgetown, a clothing store concept by the HMX Group which sells such iconic American suits as Kickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx, will close next month because of the parent company?s Chapter 11 filing. Meanwhile, check out the store for some great discounts. The swanky men?s store at 1254 Wisconsin Ave., NW, has been open for little more than a year. (Its address is a former location of the Georgetowner offices in the 1980s.)

The Watergate Exxon — that expensive gas station at the corner of Watergate West at Virginia Avenue and Rock Creek Parkway — has closed temporarily. Owner of the property, D.C. gas czar Joe Mamo had disagreements with the former operator. The tony petrol stop will be renovated. As to paying top dollar for premium gas, we shall see if that returns, too.

Businesses post-notes:

Dixie Liquor employees, Sean and Court, were photographed by Georgetown University students at their place of business and then had their images blown up into masks for students at the Georgetown-Tennessee basketball game at the Verizon Center Nov. 30. As seen on TV, the Dixie Liquor employees endured the prank at what was considered a truly terrible game for the Hoyas — even coach John Thompson III said that it was the worst basketball game he had been a part of.

Tudor Place, Georgetown’s Washington Family Connection

It is the nooks and crannies. The sleuthing, the surprise at the bottom of a box, learning about the hands that touched the bowl, dusted the lamp, paid the bill. The ghosts at Tudor Place have plenty of stories to tell. Like every beloved old house, Tudor Place still retains the imprint of its people, the family who built it and lived in it for six generations.

At Tudor Place, the past is not only present, it vibrates. In the bottom of an old box, Tudor Place staff found, under layers of old papers, a big piece of wallpaper. The piece is, according to Tudor Place’s executive director Leslie Buhler, probably one of the largest samples of late 18th-century wallpaper in existence. It is finds like this that make an old house come alive — the tastes and foibles of the very real people who once inhabited it. “Because the house is so intimate,” Buhler says, “people really connect with it.”

But even in a town where only the very latest polling data is news, people still care about what came before the rattle of the Metro bus and the latest scandal. Leslie Buhler looks out her window at the Tudor Place gardens below. “We did a paint analysis of the front door, and it turns out it was verdigris. The house itself was a golden color. I think about riding on a horse down here from R Street . . . it would’ve really made a wow!”

It still makes a wow. Think of seeing it through the eyes of a first grader who’s never before left her neighborhood. The house’s size, the tall old trees, the history; the place is fantastic. One of Tudor Place’s most successful programs brings about 3,000 school kids a year from all over Washington to visit. They can try on colonial costumes and learn about the past. Some classes do performances and recitals out on its South Lawn at Q and 31st Streets.

Education is one of Tudor Place’s most important tasks, Buhler says. To bring people in, the old house offers everything from Girl Scout programs to birthday parties to lectures and crafts classes for adults. Once people come inside the front gate, the sense of another era is inescapable. And, as Buhler says, “because we’re in the nation’s capital, many people here and who visit are interested in history.”

Preservation, of the house and its grounds, of the objects and artifacts, is Tudor Place’s other major goal. There are more than 15,000 objects in Tudor Place’s collection, and all of them tell a story. Two years ago, Tudor Place threw a party to welcome home an old friend: a chest-on-chest that George Washington kept in his bedroom. In 1816, it moved to Tudor Place, and, after some wanderings, in 2010 it came home again. After repair work, it now lives in the upstairs hallway. Preserving those old vases, spoons and books, and their histories, is expensive. Even the old trees need expert attention. Tudor Place spends between $25,000 and $30,000 each year maintaining its trees.

Even the ground underneath those trees is worthy of preservation. Tudor Place’s old outbuildings lie underground, waiting to be uncovered. The remains of a smokehouse are on the grounds, and the remnants of a dairy are just north of the property. Intriguingly enough, Tudor Place’s archeologists have found no trace of a freestanding kitchen building.

“The hardest challenge is grabbing peoples’ attention and helping them understand why Tudor Place is important, and why they should help fund it,” Buhler says. Tudor Place’s annual budget is more than one million dollars. Buhler says it ought to be about $1.5 million annually to run smoothly and provide enough for upkeep and conservation. But, like almost all art institutions these days, Tudor Place scrambles for every dollar.

The staff must also convince potential donors and even potential visitors that it is a worthy place for attention even if George Washington didn’t sleep there. He didn’t — the house was built in 1816 by Martha Washington’s granddaughter and her husband. But the lives they and their children led, the people they knew, the things they ate, are of great interest even if no president ever darkened the sheets.

Tudor Place, 1644 31st St., N.W. — 202-965-0400 — TudorPlace.org [gallery ids="100500,118118,118117" nav="thumbs"]

Gant Opens M Street Store

November 29, 2012

Gant has opened in Georgetown, marking the brand’s continued retail expansion outside of New York. The 2,000 square-foot store opened its doors at 3239 M St., NW, near clothiers J. Crew, Rag & Bone and AllSaints Spitalfields. The new location will sell a curated assort- ment from all collections including Gant, Gant Rugger and Gant by Michael Bastian.

“Georgetown, specifically M Street, has become a key shopping destination in recent years, especially for men,” said David Arbuthnot, chief executive officer of Gant USA. “Expanding into Georgetown was a natural step as Gant’s aesthetic is grounded in our authentic American East Coast heritage.”

Washingtonians may be familiar with the space that Gant now calls home. Once a popular live jazz bar called Saloun, the build- ing’s renovation maintained and upgraded key architectural elements of the original design, paying homage to the lounge that came before it.

Gant’s Georgetown location joins the brand’s existing seven retail locations, includ- ing Gant Rugger neighborhood shops and a Fifth Avenue global flagship in New York City, a Gant Campus Store at Yale University. It also recently opened Los Angeles and Boston locations. Gant plans to open four to five additional North American stores in 2013 and is also looking at several spots in the U.S. and Canada. The Sweden-based brand — with $1.23 billion in global sales last year — is owned by Switzerland-based Maus Frères SA. Gant was founded in New Haven, Conn., in 1949. For more information, visit Gant.com, or call its M Street store at 202-625-1949.

Tuckernuck Sets Up Showroom on Potomac Street

On-line boutique Tuckernuck, named for an island off Nantucket, has established its first brick-and-mortar retail presence at 1052 Potomac Street, NW. Based on “a classic life- style that spans generations,” the clothing con- cern of American styles (some might call it preppy) promotes “a timeless look based on ease, traditional and American cool.” Founded in May 2012, Tuckernuck is a woman-run busi- ness: “Yes, gents, we’re all ladies, and we’re all willing to help with any styling questions you have.” (Three of the ladies went to the National Cathedral School.) For more info, visit www.Tnuck.com, or call 202-670-1265.

Jonathan Adler Finally Opens at N & Wisconsin

After several delays, the Jonathan Adler store at 1267 Wisconsin Ave., NW, has opened. The maker and purveyor of pots, pillows, acces- sories and furniture is located at the corner, where the Kids Gap store used to be, across from Martin’s Tavern. The Adler whimsy and practicality are on full display throughout the large store, which shows off a Washington bust of sorts and D.C. pillows. Amid everything else, in time for Hanukkah, beginning Dec. 8, the store offers unique dreidels and menorahs. Visit www.JonathanAdler.com, or call 202-965-1416.

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Say ‘Bienvenido’ to Massimo Dutti

November 28, 2012

Georgetown’s fast fashion appeal continues to expand . . . locally and globally. Massimo Dutti opened at 1220 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, its second U.S. location after New York. The company is headquartered in Spain.
Next to the Third Edition and described by Thrillist as a “European J. Crew,” Massimo Duti offers well-priced, updated fashions for men and women. Considered especially fetching: a classic, yet modern, dress and a nice assortment of jackets, leather or not.

Wrote the New York Times on Nov. 27 of the newly opened store on Fifth Avenue: “New to the States, Massimo Dutti has the same parent company as Zara, which means a large-scale invasion may be imminent. It is the old-school Banana Republic to Zara’s Gap, more refined and more expensive and, in this case, more desir- able. . . . This might be the least expensive way in the city for a man to dress up. Prices are rea- sonable for clothes that are worthy simulations of expensive Italian and British styles.”